Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning (EATL) is a powerful method in the healing of mental and emotional traumatic injury.
Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) is a recognised registered international model of EATL and is available in New Zealand.
EAGALA practitioners are qualified health professionals who use EATL in their treatment programs.
Therapy teams consists of Registered Mental Health Professionals, and one or more horses. It can be used alone or as part of a multi-treatment approach.
Unlike traditional talk based therapies EATL is solution orientated rather than about the exploration of an traumatic experience. It focuses on the present and is about emotional regulation – moving from the flight, fight, freeze response to a healthy mental and emotional state.
Its approach is about understanding the individuals experiences and the effects this has. It begins by building a sense of safety to counter hypervigilance, then a understanding of self and accepting that the participant has an issue and its effects, and finally developing a new way of thinking to break out of the fight, flight, freeze cycle.
An example of a veteran benefiting from EATL after they had one and a half years of talk (CBT) therapy, which established the three incidents that affected him, followed by three sessions of equine therapy, which released him from the effects of the trauma.
See your ACC or VANZ case managers for treatment funding options for recognised medical practitioners. Funding may also be available from local or national Poppy funds, enquire with your local RSA or the RNZRSA.